The energy industry has today stepped up calls for a major overhaul of the UK’s energy policy regime in order to ensure carbon targets are met “at least cost to consumers”.
Trade body Energy UK has published a major new report, entitled Pathways to a Low Carbon Future, which underscores the industry’s support for the UK’s Climate Change Act and sets out a series of policy recommendations for ensuring emissions targets for the early 2030s are met.
The report sets out the case for a “whole system approach” for decarbonising the energy system based on a “long-term, certain and holistic policy framework”.
It also features a raft of specific policy recommendations, urging ministers to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority funded through general taxation; provide a route to market for mature renewables technologies such as onshore wind and solar “to ensure decarbonisation is delivered at least cost”; and replace the Levy Control Framework with new cost controls that give developers long term visibility over the level of financial support available.
In addition it argues government should urgently develop a new approach for delivering low carbon heat technologies at scale and accelerate the development of a smart and flexible grid.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said a renewed focus on energy efficiency was critical to ensuring emissions reductions are delivered in the most cost effective way possible.
“As the report from the Committee on Climate Change found only last month energy efficiency measures have already been cancelling out the low carbon policy costs for the typical household,” he said. “The industry believes that energy efficiency should be a national priority to make the transition to a low carbon economy more affordable for both consumers and businesses.”
He also urged Ministers to step up efforts to communicate the costs and benefits of transitioning to a low carbon economy. “To tackle climate change we need to have an honest debate about benefits and costs,” he said. “All sectors including heat and transport need to work together and play their part in the same way the energy industry has done for decades.”
The report comes in the same week as a number of leading low carbon business groups submitted their responses to the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, stepping up calls for greater clarity on how Ministers intend to deliver emissions reductions through the 2020s.
RenewableUK, the Renewable Energy Association, the Solar Trade Association, the Resource Association, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment all published submissions to the government’s consultation.
They each called on Ministers to ensure the Industrial Strategy supports the upcoming Clean Growth Plan by mobilising new waves of investment in low carbon infrastructure, stepping up support for clean tech skills, and lowering barriers to investment in green projects.
Speaking to the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Committee of MPs this morning, Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd refused to confirm whether the much-anticipated Clean Growth Plan would be released before June’s snap election. He said work on the plan was “well advanced” and that it was now in a “holding pattern” ahead of its release. But he also acknowledged some work still had to be done to secure cross-party sign off on the plan and the government “needs to take a view” on its publication date.